Saturday, 8 April 2017

Back Catalogue Books - Q&A with Katie Oliver

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

For those of you who may not know me, my name is Katie Oliver. I've written professionally for five years (and unprofessionally from about the age of eight). I recently moved from Washington, D.C. to South Florida, where I live with my husband Mark. Although I'm known for romantic comedies, I'm turning my hand to other genres as well. I hope to have a new book out later this year. 

I'm thrilled to drop by and talk to Rachel about my previous books. (All of us writers LOVE to talk about our books. Have you noticed?)

1) Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place

Oddly enough, it started with an episode of 'Kitchen Nightmares' featuring Gordon Ramsey. Gordon clashed (as he does) with a very opinionated, very spoiled Italian daddy's girl who ran a struggling restaurant in Boca Raton, Florida. The conflict was monumental. It sparked an idea in my head. What if a spoiled British department store heiress clashed with a tough-minded financier hired to trim store costs? What if they eventually fell out of dislike and into love? I started writing, and a year later ended up with Prada and Prejudice. 

2) How many books have you written and what are they?

I've published nine digital books and one (Prada) in paperback. The first three - Prada and Prejudice, Love and Liability, and Mansfield Lark - were published digitally by Carina UK as the Dating Mr Darcy series. Prada reached number one on the Amazon bestsellers list. Seeing that little yellow flag beside my book was amazing. 

The next three - The Bride Wore Prada, Love, Lies and Louboutins, and Manolos in Manhattan - also Carina UK - were published as the Marrying Mr Darcy series. Harper Collins/HQ Digital published the most recent books, What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?, The Trouble With Emma, and Who Needs Mr Willoughby, as The Jane Austen Factor series. Those books were a departure in that I was asked to reimagine three Jane Austen novels and set them in the present day. I had a very tight six-month deadline in which to turn all three books around. It was difficult (it was insane!) but somehow I did it. 

3) Which book are you most proud of writing?

It was probably Prada, because I wrote it in spare moments and on the weekends, while working full time. I was obsessed with the characters and convinced the story was good. Luckily, my agent agreed, and offered me representation based on the manuscript. That was the best day of my life. The second best was when Carina UK offered me a three-book deal. 

4) Which book was your favourite to write?

I really enjoyed writing Love, Lies and Louboutins. Jack Hawkins is a sexy, action-hero sort of guy, and an international arms dealer, to boot. He gets in all sorts of trouble and Gemma, a character from my first book, ends up in the thick of it with him. She thinks her husband Dominic is having an affair with a female pop singer (he isn't), and takes off with Jack for a whirlwind tour of action, danger, and - of course - romance!

5) Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?

I like Natalie Dashwood. In the beginning she's a bit self-centered, and terrible with managing money...but her heart is huge and her loyalty to those she loves never wavers. As far as the Marrying Darcy series, Holly James and Hugh Darcy from Manolos in Manhattan are favorites, as well as Chaz. I loved Chaz. Lol. 

Of the three Jane Austen Factor books, I'm most fond of Emma from The Trouble With Emma. She goes about things in exactly the wrong way, but like Natalie, she means well, and eventually it all turns out right. And Matthew Brandon, the plainspoken (but definitely sexy) Northumberland veterinarian, was a character I very much liked. 

6) If you could go back and change anything from any of your books, what would it be, and why?

Honestly? I can't bear to re-read any of them. Not because they weren't perfectly good stories (they were), but because I see every. Single. Mistake. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, though, isn't it? I've always heard actors say they can't stand to see themselves onscreen, and I never understood it. I do now. All you see afterwards are the things you did wrong, the things you could've done better. But that's a writers job - to get better, one book at a time. 

7) Which of your covers is your favourite and why?

I love this question. The design team at Harlequin/Carina UK created my cover art, and they did a fantastic job. There's not one clunker in the bunch. It's really difficult to chose a favorite, though. Seeing my very first cover for Prada and Prejudice was very exciting. But my absolute favorite book cover is still Manolos in Manhattan. I love the colors - so green and spring-like - and I adore the tiny little dog!

8) Have you ever thought about changing genres, if so what else would you like to write?

I have! While I don't jump on trends - they change so rapidly - I do want to address popular tropes. Chick Lit and romantic comedy are fun to write, but I'm after a bit more drama now. More substance. I like cowboys (always have), and so Western romance appeals to me. And I like women's fiction because the scope is broader. I'd love to write a mystery, too. I have all kinds of ideas simmering away in my feverish little brain. 

9) Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

Certainly. I just completed a Western romance set in the Texas Panhandle. Then I'm finishing a romance I started writing a couple of years ago. Next, I have another novel to return to, this one about a British family's ups and downs. So I have a lot on my plate.

10) I dare not ask for a favourite author, but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why?

I enjoy anything by Philippa Ashley and Katie Fforde...their books are so fun to read, with engaging characters and interesting plots. And I quite like the late Paul Torday's novels. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was brilliant...and The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall kept me turning pages.

11) Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your back catalogue of books?

I hope that new readers find my books and give them a try. I think they're funny, and entertaining, and they provide a pleasant couple of hours' respite from the daily grind. 

And we all need that now and then, don't we?

Thank you so much Katie for taking part. I absolutely love your Prada series and really looking forward to reading your Western romance.

Giveaway to win a signed copy of Prada and Prejudice plus other goodies (Open Internationally)

Since I am celebrating my blogiversary today, Katie Oliver has donated this lovely prize bundle for one lucky winner. 

The prize contains signed copy of Prada and Prejudice, book marks, Katie Oliver book cover wine charms and a Love London Purse.

Giveaway is open Internationally , all options, with the exception of follow on twitter,  are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 15/4/2017. Winner will be announced on twitter and emailed, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone.

Win a signed copy of Prada and Prejudice plus other goodies (Open Internationally)

Instagram: - @katiewriter
Jane Austen Variations Author Page:


Katie Oliver is the best-selling author of Prada and Prejudice and the Dating Mr Darcy/Marrying Mr Darcy series. She loves romantic comedies, characters who "meet cute," Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order). She currently resides in South Florida with her husband.


Prada & Prejudice
Love & Liability
Mansfield Lark


And the Bride Wore Prada
Love, Lies & Louboutins
Manolos in Manhattan -


What Would Lizzy Bennet Do? -
The Trouble With Emma -

Who Needs Mr Willoughby? -

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